Thursday, November 11, 2010

While All The Gods Were Sleeping, You Tried To Fool The Weak...

The combination of Metalcore and Deathcore has turned the modern Extreme Metal scenes into a gathering of underachieving, boring, tasteless pussies. I am not taking back a single thing I just said. Sure, like every other era in existence, there are exceptions to these allegations I have made. There are a few bands from both genres who actually seem somewhat inspired, regardless of how they've been pigeonholed into a comparison booth with bands who are complete shit. Deathcore has bands like Whitechapel and The Acacia Strain and Metalcore has bands like Darkest Hour, Walls Of Jericho and Ekotren. Although not much, there is at least a small blip of hope for these horrible excuses for musical genres. Deathcore is, at the very best, the retarded stepson of Death Metal who gets to spend their days getting beaten because of how much of a little bitch they are and, at the same time, how much of a disappointment they are to their far superior stepdad. It's a sad, sad story... but a very true one all the same.

And although the feeling will never be the same in Extreme Metal from before 1996, I can at least listen to Death Metal nowadays and not shudder. We've still got bands like Krisiun, Atheist, Bolt Thrower and Napalm Death (And a whole flock more who i'm forgetting to mention at this moment) trying to tear the world to shreds. So fuck your over-technical guitar playing that goes nowhere... fuck your lack of worthwhile songwriting ability... fuck your bullshit, hardcore-style vocals mixed with unemotional clean singing... fuck your style, fuck your clothing, fuck your colorful band shirt, fuck your breakdowns, fuck your and most of all... fuck you. By the way... early Death Metal, albeit brutal, had a hidden fun vibe. They were enjoying what they are doing. And not showing enjoyment in a retarded, overflamboyant way like that jackoff guitarist of Killswitch Engage, Adam Dutkiewicz (Who is also responsible for producing some of the worst modern Metal records in existence. Thanks a lot, asshole!)... these guys were making something new, something fresh and something that got pulled almost straight out of thin air (Although, obviously, there were some influences from early Hardcore Punk, Crust Punk and Thrash Metal) and they were having a great time doing it.

It will (Most likely) never have that feeling again, however... I refuse to sit quietly by while the brutality and enjoyability of Extreme Metal gets tarnished by a bunch of jackasses. I am going to, very simply, shoot you all into the sun. It will be glorious.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Enter The Droids!

In every musical genre that I listen to there are at least a handful of bands whom for the most part have one amazing album and a bunch of albums that I would genuinely like more if that one album wasn't so fucking amazing. I'm sure other people have this happen too. It's not my fault that they made a masterpiece and it overshadows a good portion of the rest of their work! But anyways, i'm going to focus on a few bands whom have squirmed their way into my long list of favorites and mostly just because of a single fantastic release.

For the most part, as i've mentioned before, most of my favorite 'Old School' Death Metal bands came out of Florida. One particular band is a Tampa outfit that was formed in the late 80's by former Morbid Angel drummer Mike Browning. The band Nocturnus was a band that I wasn't familiar with at all until I came across the Choosing Death book that i've mentioned before. I love music-related books, but that one is definately a favorite and was what turned me into the Death Metal fiend I am today. But anyways, Nocturnus was one of the first Death Metal bands to use synthesizers/keyboards and they are an essential part of their sound and not cheesy in the least, which was pretty hard to find at the time. Their first album, 'The Key', is definately one of my favorite Death Metal albums of all time and definately set high expectations for their other two albums. But, as expected with the topic of this post, they didn't reach those levels that I was looking for. Every single song on 'The Key' is complete earcandy to me and the level of technicality they use with their guitars, all the while writing really well-crafted songs with good amounts of Death Metal-esque hooks and melding the synthwork perfectly with the rest of the music is astonishing and I will never grow tired of this album, although it does sadden me a little that this was Nocturnus' peak and it was their first offering. I can only use so many terms to describe my satisfaction with their music, so I will post some music below to show you what I mean. And for all of you production babies out there, 'The Key' was released in 1990 and was in a genre that was just coming up and recorded with probably not a whole lot of money, so shut your mouths right now!

Outside of the Death Metal scene there are a bunch of good examples of bands who also fit the aforementioned criteria. Not everyone's preferred band of choice, but the band Breaking Benjamin fits into this category as well. Yes, i'm bringing a Hard Rock/Nu Metal band into the mix after talking at length about Nocturnus... deal with it! The bands first album, 'Saturate', is a well-crafted, hook-laden Aggressive Rock album that has nothing bad songwise at all. It also helps that I am a big fan of the band Lifer and two of their members would go on to help form Breaking Benjamin before this album's recording. Tracks like "Medicate", "Home", "Sugarcoat" and the lead single "Polyamorous" are all ridiculously catchy (I know some of you get a little bit of vomit in your mouth when hearing catchy Hard Rock, but you'll survive, I promise) and the band doesn't get boring and each track stands well on it's own, even the incredibly mellow numbers. Unfortunately, more so than Nocturnus (Their second album, 'Thresholds' is at least somewhat enjoyable in comparison to 'The Key'), Breaking Benjamin just lost any balls they had after this album. Every album since it's release has been disappointment after disappointment and it's a severe annoyance to me and my ears!

Back into the Extreme Metal ring, two heavyweights whom just couldn't pull the weight I was looking for outside of a single album were Death and Morbid Angel. I know many people hold these bands to ridiculously high standards and talk about their discography likes sacred tablets, but outside of 'Scream Bloody Gore' from Death and 'Altars Of Madness' from Morbid Angel, I just don't see any real interesting material. Don't get me wrong though, I absolutely love those two albums I just mentioned, especially 'Altars Of Madness'. The guitarwork on that album is up alongside bands like Massacre and Nocturnus in my mind. It is, like those other two bands, some of the most unhuman sounding guitarwork i've heard. And before anyone mentions it, I am aware that a band like Dragonforce may play some ridiculous material at blinding speeds, but fuck them and shut up! It's a completely different sense of technicality and unlike a band like Dragonforce, these bands could write fantastic songs to go with their ridiculous guitar playing and, as well, make their songs sound different from one another. I've heard Dragonforce albums and in their case it is the exact opposite, so the argument is completely invalid. Anyways, I will talk a little more about this at a later date i'm sure, as there are a number of bands who could be included alongside these other bands, but i'm lazy. So here's some music to coincide with the postings...

Nocturnus - 'Lake Of Fire' (From their 1990 release "The Key")

Nocturnus - 'Undead Journey' (From their 1990 release "The Key")

Nocturnus - 'Andromeda Strain' (From their 1990 release "The Key")

Breaking Benjamin - 'Home' (From their 2002 release "Saturate")

Breaking Benjamin - 'Phase' (From their 2002 release "Saturate")

Breaking Benjamin - 'Sugarcoat' (From their 2002 release "Saturate")

Morbid Angel - 'Immortal Rites' (From their 1989 release "Altars Of Madness")

Death - 'Zombie Ritual' (From their 1987 release "Scream Bloody Gore")

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Can Feel The Machines...

It began in my earlier, less musically-smothered years, but my ears and mind always found an interest in the crossing of Industrial music with the Hard Rock genre. Like most individuals, this started with exposure to genre-leaders like Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Stabbing Westward. Over the years, I would try out many different bands recommended to me, but to my dismay I found a lot of really weak musical entities that just made a handful of half-assed albums. However, like any genre that I enjoy, searching and digging did bring out some bands which have climbed up my favorite band charts (Regardless of genre) over the years, especially in recent times.

The first one to discuss is a band out of Tuscon who actually started at about the same time that Nine Inch Nails did (They were also friends with Trent Reznor, who would remix two of their tracks for single releases) called Machines Of Loving Grace. Upon first exposure to this band I admittedly didn't really like them, but that's partially due to the fact that I actually grabbed their debut album first, which is still my least favorite of the band's three releases. Some time later, although still recalling my dislike for the band's material, I checked out the song "Butterfly Wings" from their second album, Concentration and try as I may, I couldn't dismiss the fact that the song was quite infectious. So, in turn, I let down my barrier in regards to the band, grabbed the Concentration album and slowly began turning into a fan of the band. What really connected with me was a little while later when I dove into their third release, Gilt, which is much more of a guitar-driven effort and absolutely fell in love with the album. From start to finish, every song has something that I like, something that pulls me back and something that makes me scratch my head in terms of trying to figure out why this band didn't break through into the mainstream and become popular (And keep going!), especially seeing as the albums were released in 1991, 1993 and 1995, which is when this sort of music was at it's popular peaking thanks to bands like Nine Inch Nails. I don't get it, I never will and it isn't a constructive use of time to dwell on it.

But anyways, we'll discuss their music a little further. After getting into the two later albums, I did go back and find appreciation for their first (Self-titled) release. The opening track, "Burn Like Brilliant Trash (At Jackie's Funeral)" (I think the name is stupid too, don't worry), "X-Insurrection", "Rite Of Shiva" and "Terminal City" are definately the best songs on the album and really stand out (It also makes sense, seeing as 3 of those songs were released to radio as singles) from the rest, although the album as a whole is an enjoyable listen all the way through.

Their second album, Concentration, is definately a stronger effort in many ways. The band sounds tighter overall, the production is much better (Although it's not really the bands fault for the production level on their first album, as the label just released their already recorded demo without any revising, which is stupid) and songs just sound both catchier and more interesting. This is the album that should've put them high up on the Industrial Rock charts but, as i've already mentioned, it never happened. The lead singles "Butterfly Wings" and "Perfect Tan (Bikini Atoll)" were perfect for the genre at the time (And although they did okay, it's merely not giving the songs enough justice) and the final single "If I Should Explode" (Which is, actually, my favorite song on the album and possibly my favorite overall song from the band) should be loved by all fans of the genre. I demand it! But the singles weren't all the album had to offer, as songs like "Lilith/Eve", "Albert Speer", "Limiter" and "Shake" were also fantastic songs that would've fit right in with anyone's love for early Nine Inch Nails work like Pretty Hate Machine.

Their final album (And my personal favorite), Gilt, is a terrifically done, guitar-heavy Industrial Rock album that has absolutely nothing bad going on at all. Songs like "Richest Junkie Still Alive", "Kiss Destroyer", "Suicide King", "Tryst" & "Solar Temple" have fairly quickly become some of my absolute favorite Industrial-tinged songs amongst my collection. Everything has loads of guitars, loads of effects, lots of high-end electronics and loops and hard hitting drumwork. What more could you really ask for ? Nothing! Now shut up and listen!

'X-Insurrection' (From their 1991 release "Machines Of Loving Grace")

'Burn Like Brilliant Trash (At Jackie's Funeral)' (From their 1991 release "Machines Of Loving Grace")

'Butterfly Wings' (From their 1993 release "Concentration")

'If I Should Explode' (From their 1993 release "Concentration")

'Golgotha Tenement Blues' (From The Crow Soundtrack, released in 1994)

'Richest Junkie Still Alive' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

'Suicide King' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

'Tryst' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

'Solar Temple' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Might Be Bleeding, But I'm Still Breathing...

There is a level of aggression deep down inside every one of us. Deny it all the fuck you want, it is right there and every once in a while it is going to pop it's dirt covered face out to wish you a good day. Or maybe that's just the homeless man you ran down a few weeks back lodged underneath your car. You're a terrible person and i'm glad all of that bad stuff happened to you!

Anyways, aggressive music has always been at the forefront of my listening patterns, regardless of what time of the year it is. Yes, in the darker, colder months I tend to spin a lot of depressing and gloomy Doom Metal and stuff of that nature, but there is still a need for fury and hatred spilling out of my speakers and that desire, hopefully, will never die...because honestly I love it. Not the feeling of anger, but just the adrenaline rush that the music can give you, given the correct timing and need.

From an early age, I used bands like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails as my major outlet. They worked for the time and still do on occasion (Seriously, who the fuck can't get behind Nine Inch Nails' 'Somewhat Damaged' when they're pissed ?), but I was yet to really find anything that was just pure anger and hatred. I was too young and my friends at the time were almost no help ("Maybe you should listen to some Everclear." 'Maybe you should fucking hang yourself!' [I would like to note that I actually don't have an issue with Everclear.]). Everything changed when I relocated to Vernon, Connecticut in the beginning of 2001. My first exposure to something completely outside of my pre-rendered mindset was through a friend of mine named Dave Chapman. We were good buddies while I was living in Manchester and when I moved we would hang out and i'd sleep over here and there, as friends at that age do.

He exposed me to a band that would forever spiral me further into the dark and the aggressive and show me sounds that I had yet to hear at that point. At some point, on a trip, he had obtained the "From The Cradle To Enslave" EP from a British Melodic Black Metal band by the name of Cradle Of Filth. This was completely new to me and what I heard in that album...I was changed. And, unlike a lot of people who are exposed to material like that for the first time, I was completely engulfed in it. They were dark...they were was pure evil to my ears (At the time). What sold me was the opening (and title) track 'From The Cradle To Enslave', their cover of Anathema's 'Sleepless' and their cover of Massacre's 'Dawn Of Eternity'. I've never been a Misfits fan and I never will be, but I enjoy their rendition of 'Death Comes Ripping'. Years later I would feel that this album's version of 'Funeral In Carpathia' to be one of my favorite songs from the bands catalog, but I hadn't paid much attention to it at this point.

Still, I was sold. And given the fact that I was recently exposed to illegally downloading music (Naughty boy!), I quickly snatched up their "Midian" album and it blew me away (And has remained my favorite to this day). Now, at this time, I actually was very new to finding my own music, so exploring further into the realms of Metal (Regardless of genre) wasn't quite in the cards yet. I had quickly developed a friendship with another Metal fan of the area, Brandon Getty, who was aware of many bands that I was not (Although, years later, my knowledge would surpass his own, although we still both knew a good amount that the other did not) and who showed me a different perspective on how I should feel about music. At the time, I was (I can admit this, although it is a sad admittance) being unfairly dismissing of mainstream bands who my friends also talked crap about. Even if I don't know the band, or even maybe liked a song I heard on the radio, I still talked shit. I regret it, but I didn't know any better at the time and being socially awkward for many years, I was trying my best to fit in. But one day, somewhere along the line, it all clicked and I no longer cared what others thought about the music I listen to (And I still don't. Suck it!).

So anyways, on to this relationship's saga. Brandon, although he doesn't realize it, was partly responsible for pushing me in a more Metallic direction, although I dismissed many of the bands he tried to showcase to me at the time. Also, at the time, Nu Metal was having it's reign atop the music world and I was more interested in that then hearing about this or that Death/Thrash Metal band who barked about nonsense (To me at the time). I recall him trying to show me Slipknot (I wouldn't like this band until I actually saw them live at Ozzfest in 2001 and their performance blew me away. "Iowa" is still an amazing album to my ears, I don't care how much of a bitch you are about Slipknot and their mainstream success.) and I hated it. Same with Cannibal Corpse and Cryptopsy. Years later, I would embrace both of the aforementioned bands (Well, early Cryptopsy anyways.), but here...I wasn't having any of it. He was also the first person to show me Soilwork, who I also dismissed (Although I was secretly intrigued by their melody.).

Another friend would come along in Jesse Lee, who was a much more diverse Metal fan who showed me a band that would end up becoming a favorite of mine in Strapping Young Lad (Along with Devin Townsend's solo material, which I also love a lot of.). I did my best at the time to find bands on my own, but I still wasn't ready and there were very few bands that I found on my own that I really enjoyed (The main exceptions from the time era that I can recall were Graveworm, All Shall Perish, Jack Off Jill and Mnemic). It wouldn't be until I moved back to Manchester when I really found my flow and I slowly, but surely, became engrossed in the Metal world and Aggressive music in general. Finding sites like Last.FM, Metal Archives and the other various little niches in the corners of the internet, I would easily be able to take the bands I already knew, find similar bands, listen to online radio stations specializing in the 'genres' I was looking into and whatnot and the supply is neverending and I will never get to hear every band from the various genres that I like that I would find enjoyment in. Too many, too little time....ain't gonna happen.

I suppose this blog could lead into my earlier posted 'Old School' Death Metal blog, so I'll stray from that genre for the time being. It wasn't long before bands like Immortal, In Flames, Gorgoroth, Hypocrisy, Arch Enemy, Fear Factory and similar acts started showing up on my radar and I ate it up like there was no tomorrow. Now, before I get any further, I must discuss that with my love of Aggressive music, I have a heavy soft spot for the more Aggressive bands that are tossed under the 'Nu Metal' moniker. They may not have the musical talent that a lot of the 'True' Metal bands had, they may have had angsty and (sometimes) childish lyrics and they may occassionally using rapping techniques within their vocal stylings, but I love it all the same. And whether that takes away from my respectability as a Metal fan, I could really care less. It's stupid and the debate shouldn't exist ever. Every genre has so-called 'posers', but for someone to interpret my vast array of listening as being someone who could be described as that is ridiculous and you're probably an idiot and no one will ever love you and i'm glad that Football player stole your lunch money and kicked your ass! But yeah, bands like No One, Coal Chamber, Limp Bizkit, Slaves On Dope, American Head Charge and a ton of others.....they heavily appealed to me in my more aggressive moods. Deny their credibility all you want, but who hasn't felt the way the lyrics go in Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" or American Head Charge's "Coward" or Slaves On Dope's "Pushing Me" at least a few times. That's right, shut up!

But anyways, this was about Aggressive music and I feel that I made my points and I have no desire to beat a dead horse, so here's some music. Now go away!

Gorgoroth - 'Carving A Giant' (From their 2006 release "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam")

Cradle Of Filth - 'From The Cradle To Enslave' (From their 1999 release "From The Cradle To Enslave")

Cryptopsy - 'Slit Your Guts' (From their 1996 release "None So Vile")

Cannibal Corpse - 'Hammer Smashed Face' (From their 1992 release "Tomb Of The Mutilated")

Hypocrisy - 'Fearless' (From their 2005 release "Virus")

No One - 'Down On Me' (From their 2001 release "No One")

Slaves On Dope - 'Fallout' (From their 2000 releases "Inches From The Mainline")

American Head Charge - 'Cowards' (From their 2004 release "The Feeding")

Mnemic - 'Jack Vegas' (From their 2004 release "The Audio Injected Soul")

Limp Bizkit - 'Full Nelson' (From their 2000 release "Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water")

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

For Funerals To Come, When All Laughter Has Gone...

The genre of 'Doom' Metal is foreign to many people across the globe and it will continue to be after this post. The end! Oh wait, no, I was going to write a blog. It's all coming back to me now...

About 8 years ago I was exposed to a little band out of Halifax called My Dying Bride by a friend of mine named Jesse. The style I saw in the band was both new and familiar at the same time, but it wouldn't be until a few years later when this band really latched on to my jugular and refused to let go. Fast forward to 2004. I knew very little of the band or their legacy and the only material I had heard was 'The Cry Of Mankind' (But really, what My Dying Bride fan doesn't hear that as one of their first songs ?) along with a few scattered tracks from their "Like Gods Of The Sun" album. I enjoyed it, but I was busy with other genres to care too much. In February of 2004, My Dying Bride finally dug their nails into me with the fantastic release of "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light". I was captivated by songs like 'A Doomed Lover', 'The Blue Lotus', 'Prize Of Beauty', 'Catherine Blake' and 'The Wreckage Of My Flesh'. As the time would approach for me to take part in my year long agony of working a 3rd shift grocery job (Some people can deal with it, but I cannot and never will again!), I became to grow more interested in this foreign genre of 'Doom' Metal and it's numerous subgenres. I basically went after anything I could find that was categorized as 'Doom', even if it turned out to be utter shit.

It was through my diggings that I came across the bleakest genre of them all (Well, in some regards I suppose Dark Ambient could give the genre a run for it's money), 'Funeral Doom' Metal. Although I had a friend who was already into Shape Of Despair, I sought out something darker... something bleaker... something that had no trace of hope or peace. Grim, I know, but this was my goal. Although there are a lot of bands that can be easily overlooked within the subgenre, I did find several bands who I would come to love and hold on a monolithic level (Until Skepticism released that bland affair that was late 2008's "Alloy") for quite some time. Skepticism was the first, followed by Dolorian, Ahab, Despond, The Funeral Orchestra, Woods Of Belial, Wormphlegm, Tyranny, Mournful Congregation & Mistress Of The Dead.

I collected everything I could from these bands, although finding physical copies of a lot of their albums is ridiculously difficult. All the same, I needed to hear more and I did expand, but before long my 'Doom' Metal days began dwindling (Possibly because Summer was approaching and listening to that style of music in 90 degree weather seems to knock the mood and atmosphere out of the picture) and wouldn't fully return for a good period of time to come.

Recently I found myself picking through this and that to listen to and Dolorian's "Voidwards" album popped out at me. It was a cool evening and it was dark and I found myself a bit down, so I put it on my iPod, laid down with my headphones and just laid there. The feeling I got from absorbing the album into me was pure ecstasy's actually really hard to describe it. It was, for one glorious hour, a perfect series of moments. Nothing in the whole world bothered me even in the slightest. There was not a single track on the album that didn't perfectly fit in this moment and not a single track that I didn't fully enjoy.

This pushed me back into my need for absorbing this sort of material, but i'm looking at it from a different perspective (Again, hard to explain, but just keep listening) and a less depressing scenario. This also became the first period of time where I actually listened to Dolorian's other two releases and they're magnificent all the same. It only happens every once in a while, but sometimes digging through piles and piles of underground material does infact bring up the most unbelievable of gems. I could go more in-depth with this genre and my feelings on more bands within it, but for now I will cut this fairly short.

There are lots of genres that I enjoy (Obviously), but there are certain albums within this genre that just....take me to another place. The albums do not seem like they could've actually been created by just some mere mortal. And I know, written in a blog here that seems silly to say, but it is how I feel about a very small percentage of musical creations. Dolorian's "Voidwards" and Skepticism's "Lead And Aether" are amongst this very small grouping, along with stuff like Lustmord's "Zoetrope" (A single person Dark Ambient project from England) and Sunn O)))'s "Black One" (A Drone Metal band out of Seattle, Washington). I will always love my Nu Metal albums, my Industrial Rock albums and my Alternative Rock albums...but these's just something completely different that I get out of them. But I feel that they would be less special if I could completely explain the feelings I they're safe for now.

Oh and....subscribe to my shit, motherfuckers!

Dolorian - 'Dual - Void - Trident' (From their 2006 release "Voidwards")

Dolorian - 'Raja Naga-Rising' (From their 2006 release "Voidwards")

Skepticism - 'The Falls' (From their 1998 release "Lead And Aether")

Sunn O))) - 'It Took The Night To Believe' (From their 2005 release "Black One")

Lustmord - 'Descent' (From their 2002 release "Zoetrope")

Despond - 'Rains' (From their 2003 release "Supreme Funeral Oration")

Woods Of Belial - 'Halla' (From their 2003 release "Deimos XIII")

Ahab - 'Old Thunder' (From their 2006 release "The Call Of The Wretched Sea")

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Despair Of David Reilly

Back in the mid to later years of High School my favorite band was the overly depressing Industrial Rock unit Stabbing Westward. There was absolutely no question in my mind and they eclipsed Nine Inch Nails & Marilyn Manson (Both prior favorites) in my opinion. Years would pass and my interest in the band would lessen and lessen, due to both growth and my heavy overplaying of the bands 4 albums. Even the recent announcement of a reunion tour merely sparked interest for a few days and then I no longer really cared. Yes, I will go if it happens, mostly for nostalgia's sake, but it still finds it way at best midway up my interest plateau.

When I was younger, there were other Industrial/Electronic Rock bands that made waves in one way or another that crossed my listening path. Several I liked, several I didn't care for. Of the ones I liked, there were such bands as Econoline Crush, Gravity Kills, Pitchshifter, Filter, Godhead, VAST & Zeromancer. Other bands I heard, but lacked any real interest in, such as Machines Of Loving Grace, KMFDM, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, 16Volt, Depeche Mode and a little group from Pennslyvania called God Lives Underwater. Now, I still think very low of KMFDM, Ministry & Skinny Puppy, but the rest I at least like.

Now if you're familiar with the last band I mentioned, God Lives Underwater, then you know the name David Reilly and you already could have guessed what this entry was going to be at least somewhat about. Good for you, now shut up and keep reading!

While in my heavy Industrial/Electronic Rock hunting phase, someone who knew I really liked Stabbing Westward supplied me with a few tracks from God Lives Underwater, whose name I had previously heard mentioned, but I was unfamiliar with the bands material or what they even really sounded like. I was supplied with their lone hit 'From Your Mouth' (If anyone watched MTV in the 90's you probably saw this video, which displayed a reverse video of a man eating hot dogs. How gloomy!), a David Bowie cover in 'Fame' and a couple other tracks which I don't recall at the moment. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. Infact, I straight out did not like it, especially the 'Fame' cover.

Years would pass and my musical library would increase and for some reason that I cannot remember, I decided to give this band of Electro-Rockers a second chance, as I had just seen that their long delayed new album (Which would be their final album, titled "Up Off The Floor") had been leaked onto the internet and I scooped it up. What I would hear would be a bit more of a different band altogether and fairly quickly my previous impressions of the band were diminished. Now, the first two tracks on the album, 'White Noise' and 'Tricked', caught my attention, but it was a song near the end of the album called 'Miss You More Than Anything' (How could I not immediately dart to a track named that ?) that put the nail in the coffin for me. I was sold. It would be a while before I actually further explored the rest of the bands albums, but I really enjoyed "Up Off The Floor" (And I don't fucking care how many of you GLU fanboys and fangirls don't like it. You can suck it!) and I listened to it on a semi-regular basis.

Some more years would pass and it was around this time when I became an overnight grocery stocker. A boring, monotonous job which I would spend 8 hours of with my headphones on. Hey, at least there was a plus there! But it was during this time when I got more of a chance to listen to a lot of the music I didn't have enough time to explore during the daylight hours of working a normal workshift. It was during this time when I found myself listening to God Lives Underwater's second release, "Empty". Unbeknownst to me, this album had a couple of minor hits on it, I had just never heard them (Mostly because I missed the mid 90's Alternative wave by a few years). This album struck further chords with me with the song '23', which I felt spoke directly to me at the time (And I still really like the song and feel some relation to the lyrics here and there.). I mean, really, how could a moderately depressed and single 21 year old not find comfort in the following ?

I'm breathing the air. the air I always breathe.
I don't have a lot. I want someone to share it with me.
I really only want a few things. They've all been taken away.
What does the next life bring? I just want to feel okay.
I'm searching forever. For someone or something.
I want to feel high. I want someone to love me.
I've spent 23 years now. Trying to get by.
Other people make it day to day. I still wonder why.
I really only had a few things. They all turned to tears.
One tried to kill me. The other kept me here.
I'm still here.

I mean, really. But yeah, so '23' was another shock to my system at the time, along with other album cuts in 'No More Love', 'All Wrong' & 'Empty'. It was around this time that I finally spun "Life In The So-Called Space Age" and although I find it to be the weakest of their 3 full lengths (Their first release was a self titled EP, which I as well enjoy), it is a good album. This album does though have my 3rd favorite GLU song in 'Happy?', which I feel fits perfectly alongside '23' and 'Miss You More Than Anything'.

I was unaware at this time (Remember, God Lives Underwater had been broken up for a little while by this point) that David Reilly, GLU's singer, had passed away in October of 2005. I was also unaware that right before he died, he had pretty much completed his second solo album (Hell, I didn't even know he had made a first one) and that it wouldn't be until early 2010 that the album would finally see the light of day. One day in 2009 I had remembered seeing something about a friend of David's writing a book about his experiences with him and in the midst of a minor GLU kick that I was on, I spent some extra money and bought the book along with all the extra things he was including in the highest tier package (Some bootlegs, an acoustic solo show David did and a couple of interviews).

The book, which although not a God Lives Underwater biography, went into a lot of emotional detail surrounding David and this writers affiliation and long standing friendship with the musician. I tend to get wrapped up in well written books anyways, but this one was an especially hard read as I began to feel connections with the people in the story and everything leading up to his young death at age 34. There's something that adds an extra aura of sorrow when you're listening to a singer who you really like who is no longer a part of this realm. Death doesn't bother me all too much most of the time, but sometimes it can strike a nerve and in this situation... it did.

After I finished the book (I went through it in like 3 days, I could not bring myself to put it down until I was just too tired to look at words anymore, heh.), I finally got around to checking out the extra material sent to me. The first thing I checked out (And still my favorite) was the recording of David Reilly's solo acoustic show, which showed him playing both solo material and GLU songs. I enjoyed the song 'Whatever You Got' prior to hearing this show, but it wasn't a favorite and I tended to go past it in favor of other songs while listening to the band. However, it was during this set where he couldn't get himself past the first line of the song after 3 attempts because he would get choked up due to a line in the song finding relation to his recently killed girlfriend. After hearing this, listening to the song has never been the same experience and it although a very depressing scenario, it added a whole new dimension to the track that I had not previously grasped.

A few months later (I had actually forgotten about this being mentioned to me), a copy of his second solo album, "How Humans R(x)" came to me in the mail from the book writer. I got one of 100 actual copies of the album and it will never leave my collection. Very exciting for me, leave me alone about it! Anyways, the album absolutely blew me away (I had heard his first album, which was a mere 6 tracks, and although it was good, it didn't really strike that big of a chord with me). Yeah, that's it! But yeah, the first actual song on the album ('My Til Tomorrow') easily became one of my favorite songs ever after a mere 5 times hearing it. It's really that good (To me). The rest of the album is solid for the most part and there are a heavy amount of good songs which speak to me on an emotional level, which I can relate to and see clearly. I love that about songs, I don't care if no one else does.

That's pretty much the end of my tale here. God Lives Underwater went from a band I quickly dismissed to possibly my favorite band out of the entire Electronic/Industrial Rock spectrum and David Reilly became one of my favorite singers/songwriters. The end! Oh yeah and per usual, you get some music relating to the entry below. Enjoy it!

David Reilly - 'My Til Tomorrow' (From his 2010 release "How Humans R(x)")

God Lives Underwater - '23' (From their 1995 release "Empty")

God Lives Underwater - 'Miss You More Than Anything' (From their 2004 release "Up Off The Floor")

David Reilly - 'Crazier Than Me' (From his 2010 release "How Humans R(x)")

God Lives Underwater - 'All Wrong' (From their 1995 release "Empty")

God Lives Underwater - 'Fly On The Windscreen' (From a Depeche Mode Tribute Album)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beneath An Ice Veil While Re-Inventing The Grocerycore...

I've never been terribly good at painting or drawing and I haven't sewn anything since Home Ec class in Middle School, so in order for me to get any sort of creative juices flowing, I tend to have to go the way of music or written passages. More often than not, you will find me trying to figure out a guitar than with a pen in hand, so this discussion will be in a musical sense. Plus it also goes along with the current theme of the blog, so suck it.

I will be the first to admit that as far as my talents are concerned with any musical instrument, I am amateurish pretty much all around. But my thing has always been to just go forward with what i've got and over time I will pick up pieces here and there and improve. I don't not try to complete something just because I may question my abilities. In the case of my musical endeavours, I enjoy what I do and if anyone else listening actually enjoys what I do, I usually think they're either lying or mentally ill. I don't usually take a compliment and think to myself "Hey, i'm doing great!". No offense to anyone who actually likes something I do in this realm of creativity, but I don't. I play and I write because I enjoy doing it and I enjoy the constructive process of it all, regardless of how simplistic and one dimensional a lot of my material may be seen as being.

It started years back when I would play around with MTV's Music Generator, which I had on my PC. I had a friend who sang songs with no backing music whatsoever and put them on (Oh, those were the days!) and I would download the tracks and (unbeknownst to him at the time) make awful sampled beats in the background, merge the tracks and upload them as remixes of his tracks. He was at least amused by them when he found out, but I had very minimal creative control over what I could do in terms of customization, so this was short lived. I will skip inane group projects and jump ahead to Underwater Mourning, which was constructed in early 2007. Sick name, I know, but all the same...this was my first attempts at really trying to put music together on my own. All I had was Fruity Loops, bad samples and a cheap guitar, but I did what I could with my minimal talents and lots of effects and I enjoy listening to it now and again for nostalgia's sake. It ended up becoming an 19 track (35 minutes in length) album that I had available for streaming and download online for anyone foolish enough to come across it. There was a single track out of these sessions which I actually recorded vocals for too, as a dedication of despair towards a female I had fallen for at the time, but somewhere along the lines this version of the song was lost and i've never been able to find it on any data discs i've made. Farewell, stupid dedication to Monica! 2007 says you can suck it!

The next move would be the (I still don't understand how this happened. I think everyone may just be insane. And that would explain it!) fairly popular Doug Shorts Conspiracy. I did everything I could just to be weird and off-beat and it worked to a decent degree. People liked it and the album was given away to over 50 people and downloaded by tons of others. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people ? I was always complimented on the humor of the shit I was saying and the way in which I vocalized and the dance-ish back beats. Several songs showed signs of assistance from a friend and former co-worker Piotr, who tried his best to keep up to par with my insanity. As time went on, the songs became a bit more aggressive (Due to the strainful situations I was enduring at work, it showed in the material) and a few months before I would be ultimately terminated from the store, the project was put to rest. I did, however, record one final song directly after my termination, but that was more of a simple 'Fuck you' directed at the people who no longer saw it fit to speak with me after my departure. And a valuable lesson in regards to work friends was learned! But yeah, the Doug Shorts Conspiracy material would end up as a 21 track (34 minute) endeavour that several people use as a drink coaster now (I wish!).

After this period, every small project I tried to create fell to pieces. I couldn't find a proper footing and I would ultimately succumb to my laziness and I made 3 more projects before declaring a long break from musical work. In this time, very few people saw the incredibly short lived projects of Dead Sky Dawning, Black Orbit & Jon Von Supersick's Magical Outerspace Rollercoaster Ride (It doesn't help when you try to reclaim some humor from a former project and end up not recording any vocals for it, heh). I still have the material from those projects and I did end up creating some short, cool ideas, but they (As already mentioned) became covered in dust and the projects would never be given any time or nurturing to actually become something worthwhile.

Move ahead to 2010. I had been working with Jesse for some time on our current musical project (Appropriately named, by him, as The R-Tards. It's a South Park reference, don't worry about it), I found myself with a newfound desire to expand myself musically again. Working with Jesse is fine, but there are far too many restrictions I feel I have placed on me in terms of things that I enjoy doing and want to do musically that he doesn't want done. So (From the Type O Negative song) Suspended In Dusk was born and although it got off to a slow start, I now have an 8 track (Although it is 7 minutes long! I am ultra fucking grim.) selection of songs that are laid down, with tons of ideas still floating around that need to get out. In this situation, I finally made use of the Boss GT-8 effects unit, I made use of post-recording effects via Cool Edit Pro and I made use of the extensive library of Industrial/Electronic samples that I obtained a couple years back and never really looked into much.

Once again, I never expect anyone to take any particular interest in what I do. I am doing everything I do musically for myself and to have an outlet to shove my creative juices out of my system and into something constructive and interesting that I can look back at. So, to push you all (Who is actually reading this ? No one!) to the brink of insanity, here are all 8 Suspended In Dusk tracks that are currently set in order of how I wanted them to be heard.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What An Asshole!

Everyone of my friends know that for all of my diversified and open minded musical listening habits, I am a douchebag when it comes to peoples perception of what I like and people who recommend me music based on the fact that they don't think i'm listening to good enough material. I would like to note that if you recommend me something that you think i'll like, I will listen to it. But don't tell me that what i like is subpar and that you have some superior taste and are going to bless me with your infinite musical wisdom. You're a douchebag and I am going to stab you in the neck with my cassette tapes! I do my best not to do that to my friends (Although I do regularly recommend things to them, I try my best not to be an ass about it or to come off as though my taste is in any way superior. Our own tastes are our own tastes and no ones is better than the next persons.) and expect it in return. And if I ever hear 'You should listen to some real Metal like Trivium, Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall' at another point in my life, I will slowly kill you. No joke. You get to die! I already told you, i'm an asshole. Now leave me alone!

So on to the point of this entry! A genre that I have been aware of for years, but only recently really found myself getting into is 'Death Metal'. For the longest time, I was exposed to this and that from the genres archives and it never phased me. I never cared. I mean, for a good period of time, bands like Cradle Of Filth, Strapping Young Lad, Dimmu Borgir & Hypocrisy were as heavy as I got. I had friends who liked Cannibal Corpse, The Berzerker, Cryptopsy and Suffocation and it didn't do anything for me, except show off a significant speed increase and lack of comprehension to my ears. And I was fine with this. I was happy with my Nu Metal, my Industrial/Electronic Rock and my Alternative/Hard Rock. This all changed, strangely enough, after I read a book. I've always been a fan of musically based books, mostly of the biographical nature. It came to my knowledge in early 2009, which looking into a new musically based book to check out, that there was a book written by Albert Mudrian about the history of early Death Metal. I was generally unfamiliar with the genre and on a whim decided to get the book, as it had been out since 2004 and a used copy was only a few bucks.

The book has easily become one of my favorite music-based books that i've ever read. I simply love the way it's written and the exposure I was given to bands that I probably wouldn't have seeked out on my own is a definite plus to me. It spoke of the tales of the early formations...these bands who had very little to go on as far as influences go and who just decided that they were bored and wanted to be fast and technical and angry and they didn't care about selling a bunch of records. They just wanted to have fun and be better than these other guys over here. I mean, at that time, the fastest bands in the world that people were even remotely aware of were bands like Slayer, Mercyful Fate, Testament, Metallica and Megadeth. Then in the late 80's, thanks to the tape trading underground (The earliest incarnation of mix tapes! One of my favorite pastimes), kids were starting to discover these newer, faster, meaner and nastier bands that maybe had one or two demos out and were being swapped around. Out of all this rubble came bands like Napalm Death, Carcass, Entombed (At the time known as Nihilist), Massacre, Bolt Thrower, Nocturnus, Morbid Angel, Death, Atheist (At the time known as R.A.V.A.G.E.), Brutality, Cynic and a shit ton of other bands who just wanted to play shows and have a good time and hang out with their friends and other bands.

Several of these bands would record a good number of major label albums over time. Some would record a couple albums and wither away. And even a smaller amount would get to record maybe one album and then disappear completely.

A few of these bands I actually don't like much past their first album, which is a disappoint to me as I do like all of the above mentioned bands. Two prime examples are Death & Morbid Angel. I love both of their first albums, especially Morbid Angel's "Altars Of Madness". And then, everything afterwards, i'm just not into, for various reasons. With the other band, Death, their first album "Scream Bloody Gore" is really good, albeit a bit harsh production wise and is often considered one of the key staples of the early Death Metal era. There are other bands who I actually don't really care for the early material. Notable here is Carcass and Napalm Death. Carcass's first album is just not my thing (I love the whole 'Old School Death Metal' scene, but the early stuff which is considered 'Grindcore' just isn't my thing). After the first album, they would make 4 really great albums (My favorites of which are actually their last two, "Heartwork" and "Swansong", which heavily paved the way for most of the entire 'Melodic Death Metal' scene. Beautiful blueprints, indeed.) which I listen to on a semi-regular basis. Napalm Death, I actually didn't get at first. Their earliest stuff still does nothing for me and it wasn't really until their 1994 release ("Fear, Emptiness, Despair") where I started to gain some interest and pay more attention. Soon after hearing some stuff from that release I was exposed to the next 2 albums in their discography, which have become not only my 2 favorite Napalm Death releases, but 2 of my favorite 'Death Metal' themed albums overall. 1996's "Diatribes" and 1997's "Inside The Torn Apart" are both Napalm Death's most melodic releases, but they don't lose their ferocity. Both albums are aggressive to the tip, but they're incredibly well crafted with many memorable cuts. After this period, I like Napalm Death a little less, but they still have a lot of good material here and there. And, to be honest, I do need to spend more time with the albums after those, so as to try and get a better feel for them.

I am going to cut myself off here (But I will continue) and give you guys some music based on what i've been speaking about. My plan is to coincide my rantings about the stuff I like (Or don't like) with audio examples, so that you can get a better idea of what i'm talking about. Enjoy!

Napalm Death - "Greed Killing" (From their 1996 release "Diatribes")

Napalm Death - "Cold Forgiveness" (From their 1996 release "Diatribes")

Napalm Death - "Breed To Breathe" (From their 1997 release "Inside The Torn Apart")

Carcass - "Keep On Rotting In The Free World" (From their 1995 release "Swansong")

Carcass - "Rock The Vote" (From their 1995 release "Swansong")

Carcass - "This Mortal Coil" (From their 1993 release "Heartwork")

Morbid Angel - "Immortal Rites" (From their 1989 release "Altars Of Madness")

Death - "Zombie Ritual" (From their 1987 release "Scream Bloody Gore")

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Return Was Inevitable...

I've decided to clean this out and replenish it with new rantings, ravings and opinionated ways. You will deal with it, for you are reading this and you know that there is nothing else that you would rather be doing at this precise moment. Give in to the blogmaster!

I will start you fiends off easily. I've been on a big David Bowie kick recently (Well, that is until the new Filter album came out and totally kicked my ass, but still....we'll stay with Bowie for right now) and i've finally gotten to the point where I really appreciate his stuff. I mean, I dug him before, but it was always a song here and a song there and I didn't go very deep into his catalog. No more! Strangely enough, it all started with one of his 70's discs "Low", which was always mentioned by Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson, Trevor Hurst and Chris Hall, but I always ignored it because of the timeframe and my mindset that 'anything that old can't be that great'. I was wrong! Very, very wrong. But it was a good wrong, so I can easily admit it. I can now call some of the albums tracks my favorite songs that i've discovered in the last few years. Most notably would be "Speed Of Life" (Which is actually an instrumental track. I usually like instrumentals, but to make it one of my favorite songs of the last few takes quite a bit of a push. It's really just that awesome and re-playable.), "Be My Wife" and "Always Crashing In The Same Car". So, to show you what I mean, I will embed still image videos of those 3 in here for your listening pleasure. And by listening pleasure, I mean listen to them or be a worthless speck in my world of fantasticism!

"Speed Of Life"

"Be My Wife"

"Always Crashing In The Same Car"

After getting that into "Low", I went the safe route and came back to his modern albums and gave them more attention. I first really got into "Reality" and then "Earthling" and then "Heathen" and "Hours" (With "Outside" just waiting for me to spin the majority of it). I found that most of the time, each album has several songs that I loved, but even the rest of the albums were really good and I liked listening to them all the way through. Maybe it's just that I really like his voice ? Maybe it's his direction and how back and forth he's been with his music over the years ? I don't care, really. I just know that I dig it and that he is quickly becoming one of my favorite musicians. To round out this blog entry (With many more to come!), I will shove some material from those albums down your throat. Some have music videos and some do not. Suck it up and enjoy them all or perish!

"I'm Afraid Of Americans (With Trent Reznor)" [From "Earthling"]

"Heart's Filthy Lesson" [From "Outside"]

"Slow Burn" [From "Heathen"]

"Pablo Picasso" [From "Reality"]

"The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell" [From "Hours"]

"Little Wonder" [From "Earthling"]

"Hallo Spaceboy" [From "Outside"]

"I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spacecraft" [From "Heathen"]

"Fall Dog Bombs The Moon" [From "Reality"]

"Survive" [From "Hours"]